but I opened my coat to prove a point
and kept coming home with colds.
I thought I was done stuffing fists
in my mouth to mute the sound.
Done lying about what trails my throat
had charted. I practiced looking tall
men in the eye, spoke loudly,
pronounced every ‘R.’
I chopped wood at midnight.
I left the shower and kept
singing. I sang about my body
like I was proud. I was proud.
I was – My legs churned the poolwater.
I clamped silicone and didn’t cry.
Learned the names of oils. Asked
for another finger. I cried. Swore
to drown before saying sorry.
I sang about my death
like I was over it. Ground
my face into the soil, like I was ready
to shave it off. I stopped shaving.
Told a joke in the voice of a stupid
girl. I waved a flag of my own bones.
I threw my sordid liver at a man –
think fast – then acted surprised,
again, when he caught it in his teeth.
Not everyone who speaks this way
is lying. Somewhere,
there is a version of me that isn’t neck-
deep in her invented filth.
Somewhere a woman is walking
barefoot through the woods,
trailing white linen, walking without
a dog snapping at her heels.
Both of us are singing.
Both of us are bragging
in the past tense.
One of us is still here.
That much, I guess,
at least, is true.
Death & Loss
Doubt & Fear
when the title of a poem acts as the first line
a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses
a literary work that begins in the middle of the action (from the Latin “into the middle of things)
a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic
a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”